Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gig review: CSS in London

"Everything we write is the truth," announces Lovefoxxx halfway through CSS's set at the Shepherd's Bush Empire. "So this next song is based on a true story."

The track she's introducing is Music Is My Hot Hot Sex - which details how the singer is rather fond of music.

It is hardly the sort of narrative that will make a "compelling" late-night drama on Channel Five. But it is, I confess, the story of my life.

It also explains why CSS are amazing: They are completely consumed by their hedonistic passion for pop and rock and dance and indie and grunge and acid and electro and pop (again). What's more, they spare no energy in communicating that feeling to their audience.

Last night's concert was a case in point. I was this close (indicates something very close, like a pen or a fingernail) to skipping the show, after a gruelling seven-hour drive down to London from Newcastle the night before. And yet, by the second verse of the opening song, Jager Joga, I was jumping up and down like a tigger on a trampoline.

This was largely due to Lovefoxxx, who frequently threatened to vapourise with excitement. Never the most tuneful of singers, her greatest asset is her voluptuous mane of raven black hair, which she tossed around like she was the star of a Pantene commercial on fast forward. Her bonkers barnet also acted as a conduit for the band's ebullient party vibe, whipping the crowd into a frenzy as much as their dopey, upbeat singalongs.

Musically, the Brazilian six-piece were ten times stronger than when I saw them at last year's Wireless festival, attacking songs like Alcohol and Rage with tremendous gusto and (thankfully) roughing up the smooth edges of this year's over-polished Donkey album.

By the final one-two sucker punch of Let's Make Love and Alala, the entire crowd was sweaty, exhausted and happy.

Lovefoxxx, stripped down to her trademark technicolour catsuit, finally flipped, screaming "Where's my bitches at" at the top of her voice, before the gig climaxed with with a euphoric group hug and a squall of feedback.

True story.

[Pictures from Flickr, by crazybobbles (band) and machartu (setlist)]

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